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Plenary Speakers

Vittorio Gallese
He is Full Professor of Psychobiology at the Department of Medicine and Surgery - Neuroscience Unit - of the University of Parma. A neuroscientist, his main contributions include the discovery, together with colleagues from Parma, of mirror neurons and the development of a neuroscientific model of perception and intersubjectivity, the Embodied Simulation Theory. His scientific production is attested by more than 260 international publications, the publication of two books as author and three books as editor. He was awarded the Grawemeyer Prize for Psychology in 2007, an honorary degree from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, in 2010, the Arnold Pfeffer Prize for Neuropsychoanalysis in New York in 2010, the Musatti Prize of the Italian Society of Psychoanalysis in 2014, and the Humboldt Forschung Preis from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, Germany, in 2019.
Gallese’s research activity since its beginning has been focusing on the relationship between the sensory-motor system and cognition, in non-human primates and humans. He is currently investigating the neurobiological and bodily roots of intersubjectivity, empathy, aesthetic experience and of a variety of psychoathological conditions, among which Schizophrenia.
Vittorio Gallese’s lecture at the IX LCM is called `Narrative as body. Embodied simulation and its relationship with fiction´.
Rukmini Bhaya Nair
Rukmini Bhaya Nair is Professor of Linguistics and English, Emerita, at IIT Delhi. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and has since taught at universities ranging from Singapore to Stanford and delivered plenaries worldwide Arhus to Xinxiang. Awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Antwerp for her contributions to narrative theory, Nair has authored 8 books, edited 2 and written more than 150 articles. Her academic books include the following three: Lying on the Postcolonial Couch: The Idea of Indifference; Narrative Gravity: Conversation, Cognition, Culture; Poetry in a Time of Terror (Oxford Univ. Press, 2002, 2003, 2009). Her most recent book is the reference volume (co-edited with Peter de Souza) titled Keywords for India: A Conceptual Lexicon for the 21st Century (Bloomsbury Academic, UK, 2020).

Nair was Head, Department, Humanities and Social Sciences, IITD, from 2006 to 2009, CRASSH Fellow at Cambridge, Senior Professorial Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library 2010-12, followed by a Professorial Fellowship at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in 2016. In 2019, she was Distinguished Visiting Professor, Hunan University. Currently on the Fellowships Committee of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) and ‘GLOCAL’ the Regional Advisory Committee of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University, Nair serves on the boards of international journals such as Language and Dialogue, Literary Semantics and Text Matters as well as on the Consultative Boards of the International Pragmatics Association (IPRA) and Biblio.

Nair’s latest major grants have been from the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology (DST) to conduct basic research in cognitive science on the theme of ‘Language, Emotion and Culture’ (2010-2014) and from the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research (ICSSR) on the theme of early childhood development under the rubric 'The Capabilities Approach to Education" (2013-2016). Starting in 2017, she is Indian Team Leader for the nine-country project on the ‘Geography of Philosophy’ headquartered at Pittsburgh University.

In addition, Nair has won the All-India Poetry Society/British Council First Prize and published three volumes of poetry with Penguin. The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry (2014), that contains iconic names like T.S. Eliot and Pablo Neruda for the century 1910-2010, says of her work that it is “widely admired… for its postmodern approach to lyrical meaning and feminine identity." Nair’s writings, creative and critical, have been included on the syllabi of Chicago, Delhi, Harvard, Kent, Toronto and other universities.

According to Nair, she does research in linguistics for the same reason that she writes poetry – to discover the limits and possibilities of language. Rukmini Bhaya Nair’s lecture at the IX LCM is called ‘Kuboaa: Towards an Understanding of Hunger Sensations and Cognitions’.
Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano
Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Zaragoza, Spain, and Fellow of the Academia Europaea. She received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh in 1999, and completed post-doctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. (1999-2001) and the University of Deusto, Spain (2001-2003). After a short time at the University of the Basque Country (2001-2003), she went to the University of Zaragoza, where she teaches General Linguistics since 2003. She worked as an invited researcher at the International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley, U.S.A. (2000-01) and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Holland (2002). Her work focuses on the relationship between language, cognition, and communication from a typological and psycholinguistic perspective. She has published extensively on issues related to the biocultural bases of multimodal language conceptual motivation and processing, especially in topics retaled to semantics (polysemy, metaphor, lexicalisation) and iconicity (ideophones) from a theoretical as well as applied perspective. Along with numerous articles in national and international journals, her most recent book is Lenguaje y Cognición (Sintesis, 2021, Valenzuela). Keen on popular science and social outreach, she manages Zaragoza Lingüística a la Carta, a multimedia repository on language talks, writes in Revista Archiletras and Ciencia Cognitiva, and participates in popular science events (La Noche de Los Investigadores, Pint of Science) and mass media (Aragon Radio, Tercer Milenio, RNE).
Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano’s lecture at the IX LCM is called 'Much more than sense perception'.
Arie Verhagen
Arie Verhagen obtained his PhD from the Free University at Amsterdam in 1986, on a study on word order and information structure in Dutch. He held positions as assistant and associate professor at the Free University in Amsterdam and the University of Utrecht, and as full professor at the University of Leiden (chair of Dutch Linguistics) in The Netherlands, and at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. He is now professor emeritus of Language, Culture, and Cognition at Leiden University. From 1996 till 2004, he served as editor-in-chief of the journal Cognitive Linguistics. His grammatical work includes studies on word order, passive, causative, connectives, wh-questions, complementation, and other construction types. With his 2005 monograph Constructions of Intersubjectivity. Discourse, Syntax, and Cognition (Oxford University Press), he contributed to the so-called ‘social turn’ in Cognitive Linguistics. His research is framed in a (radically) usage-based approach (for an overview, see Dirk Geeraerts, “Grammar in the context of intersubjective usage”, Nederlandse Taalkunde/‌Dutch Linguistics 21 (2016), 395‑407), and focuses especially on the connection between grammar, discourse, and the highly developed human ability to understand other minds, as a basis for cooperation. Click here for recent publications, including the edited volume (together with Barbara Dancygier and Wei-lun Lu) Viewpoint and the Fabric of Meaning (Cognitive Linguistics Research [CLR] 55. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton, 2016). Arie Verhagen's lecture at the LCM 2022 is called 'Icons of symbols – sign theory and the sources of perspectivization in discourse'.